New Mountains-to-Sea Trail segment completes path from Clingmans Dome to Stone Mountain

Leadership from state and national parks, volunteers, local officials, and trail enthusiasts gathered at Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Oct. 3, 2018 to celebrate the completion of a 300-mile connection on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (MST). State trails staff, members of the Carolina Mountain Club and other volunteers and supporters...

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The Bay Area Ridge Trail: Bays, Bridges, and Some Really Big Trees

Despite the San Francisco Bay Area being highly occupied, a lot of land within it is protected and set aside for recreational use. Like any loop trail, starting and ending points can be wherever a thru-hiker wants. The Bay Area Ridge Trail’s southern tip sits below farmland in Gilroy, known for its pervasive (and delicious) garlic aroma. Going clockwise, it travels north...

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Jenny Lake, the breathtaking centerpiece of Grand Teton National Park, gets a refresh

Named after Jenny Leigh, the Shoshone wife of British fur trapper Richard “Beaver Dick” Leigh, Jenny Lake is a hole formed about 12,000 years ago by glaciers pushing rock and debris out of Cascade Canyon. The many cascades and creeks in this canyon filled the hole, which is about 420 feet deep, with water. When Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) was founded in 1929 it was...

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Europe’s best wilderness cabins and mountain huts for hikers

From designer dens to remote refuges, there are thousands of – often free – walkers’ huts in amazing locations across Europe. Finland has a huge network of open wilderness huts across its 40 national parks, where hikers, skiers and canoers can spend one or two nights for free. Most are log cabins, some dating back to the 1900s; more unusual huts include a former lifeboat...

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A New, Majestic High Route Through Yosemite

This loop through Yosemite could just be the finest high-altitude thru-hike in the country. Where the boundary of Yosemite National Park overlaps with the Sierra Crest, from Dorothy Lake Pass in the north to Rodgers Peak in the south, there exists a world-class high route around the upper headwaters of the Tuolumne and Merced rivers that stays entirely within the park....

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Marriage Proposal Goes Awry After Hiking Couple Gets Lost

  A marriage proposal in Boulder, Colorado, went awry because of some overly ambitious hiking plans. Joshua Mason, 27, and his girlfriend, Katie Davis, 28, had set out on an eight-mile hike from the Fourth of July Trailhead to the nearly 13,000-foot summit on Jasper Peak. When the two came upon an isolated, scenic spot along the trail, Mason surprised Davis by...

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On the Trail of Interdependence

There may be two approaches to life pervading every facet of our society, extrapolated from long distance thru-hikers. We could call the one “endarkic” and the other “exarkic” (from the Greek word arkeo, “to suffice”). In political science or economics, the word autarky is used to describe a state of self-sufficiency. Endarky is rather the drive toward self-sufficiency;...

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Chile Launches Epic Hiking Route Through Patagonia Region

A new hiking route has been launched through Chile’s Patagonia region. Created to attract more tourists to the area and improve awareness of the need for conservation, the Route of Parks run from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn – a distance of 2,800km in total. The area is known for its lakes and rich array of wildlife and plants. The trail was funded by US billionaire Douglas...

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Property owner in Zion Narrows closure wants to welcome back hikers, but says the feds need to step up

Scott Bulloch wants you — and thousands of other hikers each year — to be able to cross his family’s land in the Zion Narrows. Better yet, he wants the federal government to own or at least hold easements on his 880-acre parcel along Zion National Park’s eastern boundary. He just wants fair consideration for property he and his family have held for 50 years, Bulloch...

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Smokies Park Hosts Stargazing Event at Purchase Knob

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a stargazing event at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center beginning at 7:00 pm on Friday, October 5, 2018. Located on Purchase Knob, the learning center provides one of the clearest views of the sky in the park and in Haywood County, NC. The Astronomy Club of Asheville will lead an exploration of the night sky...

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Ramble On: A History of Hiking

How did hiking evolve from the upper-class European sport of alpinism and the publication of an English travel guide into an activity that now has millions of participants all over the world? Who built the thousands of miles of trails that now crisscross America? What did early hikers wear, and what were some of the key inventions and innovations that led to our modern...

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How to Pack a Backpack for a Hiking Trip

Backpacks have come a long way since the 70’s, when hikers swore by (and at) bulky external frames and nifty side pockets were few and far between. Nowadays, there’s any number of high-tech packs that help you lug more gear longer, and farther, than ever before. But it’s still critical that you know how to pack a backpack right. If you’re headed out for a...

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Seeking America’s Quietest Spots: The Quest for Silence in a Loud World

The hiker trudged up a logging road and into a valley, tracing a route that seemed unremarkable. There were no sweeping views of the mountains that towered nearby. There was no summit to scale. Yet he stopped suddenly, jubilant, after about four miles of walking. He had found exactly what he was searching for: quiet. In these loud times — with political foes yelling on...

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5 hikes to find Colorado’s last glaciers before they’re gone for good

Time is running out to see Colorado’s year-round alpine glaciers before they recede into extinction — which is, in some cases, a couple decades off, according to a study from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. In the Ice Age, glaciers carved much of Colorado’s alpine landscape. Wide mountain valleys — now dotted with towns and zig-zagged by hiking trails — are...

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Cat hiking videos are the wholesome escape you need in your life

Things you can reasonably expect to see on a hike: trees; rocks; streams. Thing you might not expect to see on a hike: A cat on a leash walking with its owner. Turns out that hiking cats are more common than you might think. These adventurous felines can be found on YouTube and Instagram, where they explore rough mountain terrain, rocky beaches, and green pastures....

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Is this Europe’s most underrated hiking destination?

Just over a century ago a chap called Pedro Pidal, Marquis of Villaviciosa and an Asturian senator, returned from a visit to Yellowstone and Yosemite in the US with a burning ambition to introduce the idea of national parks to Spain. “If we do not guard the possessed paradise between the lost paradise and the promised paradise,” he said, “we do not deserve, like Adam, to...

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This is what hiking 2,000 miles feels like

Hiking 2,000 miles feels like waking up tired every morning, like eating the same food again and again until it loses all meaning. It feels like wondering with amazement when 20 miles became a short day. Like pushing yourself up the last climb of the day. Going faster and faster while your legs ache and sweat runs down your face and into your eyes, but you don’t slow...

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A Leave No Trace Principles Refresher

Outdoor enthusiasts often prefer visiting different types of locations. Some love trekking high into the Appalachian Mountains, while others enjoy paddling through the river-carved rocks of the Southwest. Some may like to explore the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, while others enjoy ambling about aimlessly amid the grass-dotted dunes of the Gulf Coast. You like...

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A day with long-haul hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail

They’re easy to spot this time of year in the North Cascades: lean, fast-moving hiking machines in their trail-running shoes, ultralightweight backpacks and a look in the eyes that says they have places to go. It’s the annual migration of thousands of northbound hikers traveling the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexico border to Canada. Most of them began the...

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Friends set off on 1000-mile UK journey without money or clothes

George Mahood and his friend Ben set off on a three-week journey from the bottom of England to the top of Scotland wearing nothing but a pair of Union Jack shorts. They didn’t have food, bikes or any money. The plan was to complete the 1,000 mile journey from Land’s End to John O’ Groats depending entirely on the kindness of strangers to provide them with accommodation,...

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Elsye “Chardonnay” Walker: Likely the First Black, Female Triple Crowner

The ATC, the PCTA, the CDTC and the ALDHA-West—the organizations that oversee the long-distance trails we adore—don’t recognize any qualifier in front of the term “thru-hike.” They also don’t recognize any qualifier in front of the term “thru-hiker.” That has never stopped people from adding them, though. Last year, Dale “Greybeard” Sanders became the oldest hiker to...

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This Little-Known Hiking Path Explores One of the Deepest Gorges in the World

Far off China’s beaten path, in the remote southwestern province of Yunnan, a winding bus ride from the UNESCO world heritage town Lijiang, lies one of the world’s most beautiful and spiritual hikes. But, chances are you’ve never heard of it. While gaining in popularity among tourists and hikers throughout Asia, Tiger Leaping Gorge remains far from the...

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Mountains? Rain forests? Fjords? New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park has them all.

Key Summit is one of many hiking trails — or as locals call them, tracks — that crisscross the South Island near Milford Sound, the green gemstone atop New Zealand’s wilderness crown. Milford Sound sits within Fiordland National Park, which in turn is part of Te Wahipounamu — South West New Zealand, a UNESCO World Heritage site that covers 10 percent of the country’s...

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Inside the Mind of Thru-Hiking’s Most Devious Con Man

The purpose of this article is to warn others about potential con men, not to sensationalize the con. For more than two decades, Jeff Caldwell has lured in hikers, couchsurfers, and other women (and they're almost always women), enthralling them with his tales of adventure. Then he manufactures personal crises and exploits their sympathy to rip them off. The writer...

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Hiking a diverse trail: The great outdoors is finally drawing more people of color

With the Olympic Mountains on its western fringe and the Cascade Range to the east, the Seattle area is at the center of some of the most eye-popping landscape in the United States. Several million acres of wilderness lie within an easy drive, and in recent years, the increasingly crowded trails there have also begun to reflect a growing diversity. A new wave of affinity...

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Hiking to Måtind on the Stave-Bleik Coastal Trail, Vesteralen, Norway

Vesteralen is an archipelago located just northeast of the Lofoten Islands off the west coast of Norway. People travel there to get a glimpse of sperm whales and humpback whales. During certain parts of the year you can also see puffins nesting on the smaller, rocky islands. The landscapes there are very similar to the Lofoten Islands. It seems like many people skip...

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Scouting mission begins for proposed Rio Grande Trail in New Mexico

Hikers have embarked on a 500-mile expedition that will traverse New Mexico. The mission: Chart out the best route and identify what challenges might lay ahead as the state moves closer to establishing the Rio Grande Trail. Following in the footsteps of other states, New Mexico is looking to capitalize on its vistas, mild weather and culture with the creation of a...

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Sprawling Jenner Headlands Preserve on California’s Sonoma Coast opening to public

Anyone who has ever driven past the hills that rise sharply near Jenner, California from the coast north of the Russian River outlet and wondered about the view from the top need wait little longer. Today the gates to the Jenner Headlands Preserve will be open to the public, adding a large, open space to the mix of protected, accessible lands lining the scenic Sonoma...

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Old Railroad Set to Become a 300-mile Hiking Trail Through California Wine Country

Seeing the best of California’s North Coast is about to get easier and better than ever. A proposed bill could transform parts of the increasingly abandoned Northwestern Pacific Railroad into a scenic hiking trail. The 300-mile-long trail, named the Great Redwood Trail, would stretch from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, cutting through Eel River Canyon. Part of the...

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Six Years, Four Sore Feet, 2,650 Miles

America’s glory is its cathedral of wilderness. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, visionary Americans like Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot fought to protect public lands for collective use. The upshot is that today every American inherits a stunning patrimony, a piece of some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. You may not be able to afford a weekend...

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Arizona canyon famed for waterfalls to reopen after flooding

Weeks after flooding rushed through a world-famous gorge off the Grand Canyon, sending tourists fleeing to higher ground, the Arizona tribe that calls the area home is ready to welcome visitors to its reservation known for towering waterfalls that cascade into blue-green pools. The Havasupai reservation has reopened for the first time since July 11, 2018, when about 200...

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Why you need to hike the Wind River Range in Wyoming

When most people think of backpacking in the West, their minds drift to destinations like Colorado’s iconic 14ers, John Muir’s Sierra, the Pacific Crest Trail, or the jagged North Cascades in Washington. Very few have heard of the Wind Rivers in Wyoming — and those who have like it that way. Here’s what they’re missing. The Winds stretch for over 100 miles along the...

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